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Is speaking of addiction in terms of sin illuminating, dangerous, or both - Essay Example

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Is Speaking of Addiction in Terms of Sin Illuminating, Dangerous, or Both? When Christians speak of sin, it is connected to a duty to obey God and is therefore different from secular moral reasoning (Delkeskamp-Hayes, 2007). Therefore secular moral reasoning on the subject of addiction is informed by science and the perception that addiction is a disease which is beyond the addict’s control…
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Is speaking of addiction in terms of sin illuminating, dangerous, or both
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Download file to see previous pages For Christians, abstinence and “temperance” are the only acceptable types of behaviour with respect to the consumption of addictive substances (Cook, 2006). Applying this reasoning to addiction is illuminating because it establishes boundaries in which addiction can be judged. It is dangerous only because it does not recognize the scientific pathology of addiction. Scientifically, addiction is a disease and unless the addict seeks the appropriate therapeutic treatment, the addict has no control over his or her craving for the addictive substance (Cook, 2006). As such, the addict cannot control his or her consumption and cannot abstain. Moreover, an addict who has fully recovered from his or her addiction will be complying with Christian tenets if he/she practices temperance but would be acting in a manner inconsistent with Scientific standards. These scientific standards dictate that temperance would create the addiction all over again. Theological definitions of addiction place it squarely in the realm of sin. One such definition perceives addiction as “the inability to say no because of captivity to pathological desires” (Myers, 2001, p. 89). It can be assumed that the pathological desires as cravings and/or dependency. ...
Another biblical representation of the sin of addiction is the belief that addiction runs counter to the requirement to “limit consumption based on need and to distribute the goods equitably” (Myers, 2001, p. 89). Aligning addiction with sin based on biblical teachings is illuminating because it points to the necessity of flexibly interpreting the bible so that addiction can be understood in biblical contexts. It is dangerous because it seeks to place addiction in biblical contexts that do not contemplate addiction to either illegal or illicit substances. For instance, aligning addiction with sin on the basis that it is against the will of God because there is a need for the fair distribution of goods implies that the substance addicted to is good. Many of the substances addicted to such as tobacco, unlawful drugs and alcohol are not good for human health on both a spiritual and physical level. Regardless, using the fair distribution of goods as a basis for aligning addiction with sin can be misleading and this may be dangerous for theologians’ attempt to validate religious standards. Augustine’s view is perhaps more illuminating in that according to Augustine, human evil originates out of the “self-imposed, radical bondage of the will” (Harkins, 2008, p. 185). According to Harkins (2008) in the Augustinian tradition, sin is perceived not only as “a cause of suffering” but also “in response to it” (p. 185). Therefore sin is: ...a tragically structured vulnerability of the human condition, including our vulnerability to various forms of psychopathology (Harkins, 2008, p. 185). Harkins (2008) raises a number of questions for exploring whether or not one can truly align addiction with sin. The suggestion that addictive items, such as alcohol, ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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